TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT: A LITERATURE REVIEW AND AN AGENDA FOR FUTURE RESEARCH

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Abstract

Total quality management (TQM) is a revolutionary approach to effective management. The research in TQM has emerged from practical needs of organizations embracing this philosophy, and the literature is mostly conceptual and practitioner-oriented. There is a lack of sound theoretical framework classifying past efforts and guiding future research. To fill the void, a study of the published TQM literature is undertaken. A review, classification, and analysis of the research in TQM spanning the last two decades is presented. A total of 226 TQM-related articles are identified from 44 refereed management journals published from 1970 to 1993. These articles are then classified and analyzed using the following two-dimensional scheme: (1) article orientation (conceptual, case study, empirical, analytical, simulation, and overview) and (2) article focus using the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria. The analysis of the literature presents pertinent developments in each of the seven criteria. In addition, it provides future research directions as well as a ready reference of the TQM literature. The suggestions for research should guide future developments in the TQM field and help transform it into a formal discipline.

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